Sunday, September 2, 2007

Are there no alarm clocks in all of Germany?

Pictures ahoy!

Well, today I started off with the intention of finding an alarm clock. Alas, it's Sunday, so pretty much everything is closed here. I had a few things to do, so I went to the Haupbahnhof first to get a train ticket from Cologne to Dresden for when I get back from orientation (the 6th - not sure if I'll have internet access until then). I handled it pretty well, no issues with the language, so now I have a ticket. I'll be changing trains in Frankfurt and Leipzig, but only for about ten minutes each, so I won't be able to see anything. I'll be getting into town after midnight, which is kind of scary. I should probably make a hotel reservation now. *does so*

Anyway, that taken care of, I wandered around town for a bit and made my way back to the doener place I tried a couple days ago (NOT the one where I dropped the money in the hot sauce), and was actually able to remember how to say things like "cucumber" (Gurke!) so I could get precisely what I wanted without embarrassing myself much. I did ask for lots of the white sauce, so that was a bit, ah, humorous (stop smirking, Noah), but other than that, no issues. My pigeon friend came back and helped me eat until some shrieking children chased him away.

After that, I decided to explore a bit more down by the river. It's very pretty down there - lots of those tall thin brightly colored houses, plus the river itself is nice. There was some kind of festival thing going on which involved Wurst stands (alas, I was full from the doener) and a race. The most amusing part is that the loudspeakers were blaring "Living in America." Made me laugh when I realized it. There were some people playing drums, too, and they were very good, but very loud. It seemed like everyone had a dog, which made for some amusing situations. At one point, there were two middle-aged couples walking towards each other, and each couple had a miniature poodle (one black, one silver), so of course they stopped to congratulate each other on their excellent doggies. In the midst of this congratulating, the dogs simultaneously let out a roar (or at least as much of a roar as miniature poodles can produce) and lept at each other, and they turned into an almost-literal ball of whirling black and silver curls. It was a great scene - the dogs were snarling, the owners were shrieking, and everyone else was laughing. Really, there's nothing funnier than a poodle fight. I mean, they're poodles. And they're fighting. Poodles. Fighting. If you can't see the humor, there's really nothing I can do for you, sorry. Maybe you should read the Wall Street Journal instead.

So yes, that done, I came back. Although the Roman-German museum itself was closed, it has a corridor running through it that you can use to get to the courtyard by the Dom without walking around it, and there were some interesting things in it. I didn't look too closely, or I'd describe in painful detail. I took a picture of this really awesome statue lady. She was better than the gold guy - she held the pose without moving face or body for ages, enough to make me look twice, and if you gave her money she did a sort of dance like in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when they're trying to be clockwork, remember? So yeah, she was good. And then I got a milkshake (yum!) and saw a guy playing a grand piano by the Dom. He was excellent, too. Most enjoyable.

Then I came home. I had an actual interaction with the people at the desk. For some reason, they're convinced my name is Weishans (pronounced Vice-hahns), so I now answer to Frau Weishans. Anyway, I was pleased with myself for not having any issues at all in that conversation, even though it required words that I don't use often. I looked up two words before talking to them ("Weckruf," a wake-up call, and "verlassen," to check out) and was otherwise fine. The language thing is weird. I know my German is good enough, but it sometimes hides from me. I don't understand perfectly simple things like "Bier aufmachen?" (ya want your beer opened, lady?), or I can't remember how to say something like "Ich moechte ein Stueck ______" (I'd like a piece of _____). So it's nice that it appears to be sinking in a little. Three interactions today (yes, I'm shy) - the ticket lady, the doener kid (he was like 13, maybe - turkish kid, I think), and the hotel guy - and I didn't screw any of them up. I'm getting used to it.

Okay, that'll be it for now. Hopefully I'll have internet at the orientation so I can update tomorrow, but if not, I'll talk to you all Thursday or Friday or something.

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